Patient Acquisition And Retention? Are They Different? What is Patient Acquisition? How is it Different Than Patient Retention?
Common question asked by doctors: Which one is more difficult? Patient acquisition vs. patient retention
Building and maintaining a patient count at your medical clinic requires great patient acquisition and patient retention strategies. Many doctors are curious about which one is harder, acquisition, or retention? You can’t have patient retention without patient acquisition, and you can’t have a viable long term business without patient retention. Before you can figure out which one is harder, you should have a marketing plan in place that addresses both patient acquisition and patient retention.
New competitors are always emerging for your medical practice
A potential patient often has several choices when they are making a health care decision. Your competitors today may not be your competitors next year, and your future competitors may even be a business that is not even organized and running. The point is, your current and potential patients will always have choices in front of them. Not only do you need to be the best choice when they are first making a healthcare decision but continue to be the best choice when they are exposed to your competitors. Fortunately, many of the things you would use to acquire patients can be used to retain them: Good reviews, reminders of services you offer, follow-ups by your staff, and personalized service are just a few things that many patients look for when choosing a health care provider and often cite as a reason for staying with them.
Retaining patients offers great return on investment (ROI)
If you retain a patient, it drives the profitability of that patient. They will bring you more revenue over time, making the resources you put into acquiring and maintaining that patient even more useful. It is much more cost-effective to retain a patient than it is to acquire a new one. Studies have also shown that the higher retention rate you maintain, you will also see a more significant increase in your overall profit.
Acquiring patient loyalty, however, is becoming harder with more choices available to patients. With so much information online, many patients can easily research their options if they become unhappy with the services they receive. Switching to a different provider is more manageable now than it used to be, and younger patients are much more likely to change than older patients. Providing top-quality care is key to retaining these patients as well as showing them other valuable services you offer.
Results must be trackable
In order to make the best medical marketing decisions, you need to be able to track how much you are spending to acquire new patients, as well as the amount you are paying to retain them. Monitoring a patient journey and the campaigns they are exposed to is critical to help you determine what is working and what is not. Acquiring patients is usually very straightforward in trying to figure out how much you spend on each one to bring them into the clinic. Without proper tracking and analytics, it may be more challenging to determine the long term costs of patient retention.
Which one is harder? Patient acquisition or patient retention?
More often than not, patient retention is more difficult than patient acquisition. When it comes to patient acquisition, your marketing efforts are aimed to give the patient enough information and motivation to go to your clinic for service. This marketing is highlighting the best parts of your medical practice and makes a compelling argument for someone to make a choice. Marketing for patient acquisition is refined over time, and eventually, a medical practice has a well-oiled marketing machine to help bring in new patients and push brand awareness.
Patient retention, however, depends not only on marketing to bring them back to your medical practice but also on the performance of your staff. The promises you make in your medical marketing needs to be backed up with the actual results from your team. If the services a patient receives at your business do not match the marketing materials they were exposed to, it will be challenging to secure their loyalty to the point where they will return for another visit. However, if the services you have at your healthcare business go above and beyond what a patient was expecting, patient retention will be easier to accomplish. Patient retention is harder because it is a joint effort by those marketing your medical practice and those actually treating patients. If the two are out of sync or not quite complimenting each other, building a loyal patient base will be very difficult.
Should more attention be paid to Patient Acquisition or Patient Retention?
In a perfect world, both of these elements should receive equal amounts of attention. However, in reality, you should probably pay attention to Patient Acquisition first before moving on to Patient Retention. If you have a top-notch patient retention plan, it isn’t going to be very useful if there are no patients to feed into it. Once you determine you have an excellent plan to get patients through the front door, then you can concentrate on how to get them to come back again and again. Both aspects, acquisition and retention, need to be maintained and adjusted as new competitors enter your market and compete with you. When someone new begins to compete for your patients, you would be wise to examine their efforts and see what exactly they are doing to acquire and retain their patients. Their strategy may expose a flaw in your efforts or, you might see something you want to apply to your marketing tactics. There is nothing wrong with lifting a good idea from somewhere else if it works for you!
Overall, patient acquisition and patient retention are going to be vital parts of your medical marketing strategy. Both operated somewhat independently of each other, but also have some powerful connections to one another. Weak patient retention puts a lot of pressure on patient acquisition to maintain a patient count. A inferior patient acquisition makes patient retention not very cost-effective. Once the two are in sync, they can be an influential factor to drive profitability to your medical clinic. The experts at PatientGain.com have the right tools you need to grow your business and patient count through proven methods of patient acquisition and patient retention.